Opera Sings with IBM's Embedded ViaVoice Speech Technology

3/24/2004 - Opera Software announced the upcoming release of a multimodal desktop browser that incorporates IBM's Embedded ViaVoice speech technology. By leveraging IBM's voice libraries in this version of Opera, users can navigate, request information and even fill in Web forms using speech and other forms of input in the same interaction.

"Voice is the most natural and effective way we communicate. In the years to come it will greatly facilitate how we interact with technology," says Christen Krogh, VP Engineering, Opera Software ASA. "By making this technology available today for the wider Web audience, the serious work of voice-enabling the Web can commence."

While traditional HTML pages continue to be the foundation of the Web, advances in the function, speed and size of both computers and mobile devices, along with today's diversity of users, has increased the demand for more flexible user interfaces. By building on this standardized foundation using XHTML+Voice (X+V), developers can add voice input and output to traditional, graphically based Web pages and achieve natural voice functionality. For example, Opera's presentation tool, Opera Show, can empower users to replace Microsoft PowerPoint, creating light-weight, Internet standards-based presentations that can also make post-publishing a breeze. By combining Opera Show with voice, can allow users in the future be able to give presentations and tell Opera via voice commands to turn to the next slide without approaching the computer and pressing the 'Page Down' keyboard key.

"This new offering can allow us to interact with the content on the Web in a more natural way, combining speech with other forms of input and output - first on PCs, and in the near future, devices such as cellphones and PDAs," said Igor Jablokov, Director, Embedded Speech, IBM, and Chairman of the VoiceXML Forum. "Developers can also start to build multimodal content using the open standards-based X+V markup language, which unifies the visual and voice Web by using development skills a large population of programmers already have today."

Opera will make the IBM integrated voice browser available in English for Windows with initial targets being enterprise customers and developers. For a demonstration of multimodal speech applications, visit: www.ibm.com/pvc/multimodal.

About Opera Software ASA
Opera Software ASA is an industry leader in the development of Web browser technology, targeting the desktop, smartphone, PDA, iTV and vertical markets. Partners include companies such as IBM, Nokia, Sony, Motorola, Macromedia, Adobe, Symbian, Canal+ Technologies, Sony Ericsson, Kyocera, Sharp, Motorola Metroworks, MontaVista Software, BenQ, Sendo and AMD. The Opera browser has received international recognition from users, industry experts and media for being faster, smaller and more standards-compliant than other browsers.

Opera's browser technology is cross-platform and modular, and currently available on the following operating systems: Windows, Linux, Mac OS, Symbian OS, QNX, TRON, FreeBSD, Solaris and Mediahighway.

Opera Software ASA is headquartered in Oslo, Norway, with development centers in Linkoping and Gothenburg, Sweden, and a sales representative in Austin, TX. The company is listed on the Oslo BÝrs under the ticker symbol OPERA. Learn more about Opera at www.opera.com.

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